The streets darkened as we walked away from the Centro district and moved deeper into the city’s edges. Jethro and I were chaperoning three beautiful women from Barcelona. The street was barren. We came to an intersection flooded with young men. Something had just happened and you could feel it in the air. Olive green uniforms intermingled with the mass of people. We collectively made the decision to double back.
Steamers have been around for thousands of years, existing in some baggage-toting form or another. They had their heyday in the late 18th to early 20th centuries, before lighter, cheaper suitcases usurped them. The name came from the trunks’ storage in the cabin of a steam ship. Often, they are distinguished by their flat or slightly curved tops, and are usually decorated with or covered in patterned paper, leather, or canvas. Malletiers, or trunk-makers, would design special customer’s steamers with art. Lithographs and chromolithographs could be placed over lids, indicating who the trunk was intended for. A trunk intended for a man might contain images of villages, a hunt, or the countryside, while a bride’s traveling chest would bear more feminine florals or drawings of fashionable ladies.
In 1927, Henry Ford decided to sink millions into failure. Frustrated by the monopoly on rubber held by a cartel of Dutch and English entrepreneurs in East Asia, he intended to use the “mother trees” in the Brazilian Amazon to provide his own for the millions of tires he needed to produce for his new cars.
Finding a whole, fresh turkey in Mexico is like discovering a sale on veal cutlets down at the baby petting zoo: ain’t gonna happen. But during my five-hour Thanksgiving shopping trip at the local MegaMart in Guanajuato, I did manage to find a smoked turkey frozen solid and dating back to sometime before the Bush presidency.
The pressure of completing my list was making me sweat; Thanksgiving was three days away and my family was counting on me. I had already struck out on cranberry sauce and the bags of whole-shelled mixed nuts we liked to crack open and eat while watching the Macy’s Parade. And I’d given up hours ago on finding those crunchy little onion-things to make green bean casserole. When I asked a stock boy if the store sold gravy he said yes, happily leading me to a row of bottled Caesar dressings.
To celebrate the accolades that Nowhere Magazine and writer Frank Bures earned for “The Crossing” from Issue 6, we are publishing the essay in its entirety here. To read more about the award and the judges’ comments on his piece, continue reading below.
Words of praise from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation for “The Crossing” by Frank Bures from Nowhere Issue 6:
What a superb opening to a story about a subject most (if not all) of its readers have never heard of.
A small circle of dust erupts off the ground as Tewodros drops the enormous gear. “Just in this morning,” he explains energetically. “This is the mesh wheel, from an al Qaeda,” he says, using the local slang for the Isuzu trucks that stampede up and down Ethiopia’s highways, so named for their habit of regularly inflicting vehicular massacre upon any animal, building or car that happens to be in their way, whether on the road or not.
“Let those laugh who can show more scalps than I can,” said Chieftain Pashmataha, tossing five scalps on the ground, the result of a single-handed onslaught on the enemy’s rear.
So goes the legend of the Choctaw tribe of Oklahoma. Such a show of bravery was nothing out of the ordinary for them. Oklahoma, the name, in fact is derived from the tribal language, meaning Land of the Red People (okla means the people, homma means red).
Televised Atlas follows one man’s travels across the globe as he hosts a TV series by the same name.
Season 8, Episodes 67 and 68
In colder states kids call the cops a number and letter but few trace the name to Hawaii Five-O, a title that says last in The Union but certainly not least. “Imagine,” you say, “a show besides Cops taking place in Montana. Montana Four-One, where the mountains are pretty and the women are rough.” This is your schtick, nasty words in beautiful places, talking pop culture as you travel the world. You don’t mention that Hawaii, like New York, is both the name of a state and portion of it. Similarly, The Island of Hawaii is distinguished by the name The Big Island, the way The Big Apple extends from New York. Though the State of Hawaii contains hundreds of islands, you name only eight and visit just five.
When you get to its peak, Mauna Kea is covered with snow. You’d hoped, against logic, a little lava might plume. Only 13,000 feet above sea-level, its base underwater is 33,000 down, more than double the peak-to-base distance Mount Everest covers. It would be a million times tougher to find Mauna Kea’s base than Everest’s peak but you know, after a few undeserved Emmys, triumph is mostly a game of perspective.
If you could plummet toward Mauna Kea’s base underwater, down through the core and cannon back out, you’d see The Big Island is antipodal to Botswana, Hawaii being the only state in The Union with livable land a straight shot through Earth. Though Alaska sits opposite a chunk of Antarctica, no one will live there for at least fifty years.
So here you are hosting your last season before you turn truly decrepit. The Arab Spring tanks a shoot set for Syria, forcing producers to weigh alternate locales against repackaging leftovers, and the latter wins out as a week in the archipelago becomes an extra hour of snark. How about it, you think, the average tourist is right: A week in Hawaii really does feel too short. And when commercials and placements weave through your footage, a hundred-twenty-minutes shrink down to seventy. No matter the size of the Earth or the distance you travel, lifespan and money make a map all their own.
Communist rebels taking over huge swaths of land in India may sound like a forgotten chapter of the Cold War, but it’s not. Communist militias are now active in 20 of India’s 28 states, control hundreds of small villages and the government describes the Maoist/Naxalite insurgency as the biggest internal security threat the nation has ever faced.
The term naxal derives from the name of the village Naxalbari in West Bengal, where the movement started in 1967. Locals began assassinating landowners and demanded a re-distribution of wealth. In the 1970s, the movement expanded into urban universities and students took over machine shops to make simple guns to fight against the police.
Though it never went away, the movement slowed until the modern phase began around 2005. There is now a “red corridor” where the predominantly peasant army is most active. Local media usually brings up the movement only to chastise it and predict its fall. Entire Naxalite villages in the red corridor don’t seem to be reading the same newspapers, though Indian media is also quick to point out that most Naxilites are illiterate. Somehow, even with dramatic security measures and a press that constantly predicts the death of the movement, the Naxalites were able to stage one of their most dramatic attacks this May. Nearly 250 armed cadres captured an entire government convoy of vehicles carrying the senior political leaders of Chhattisgarh state. The rebels killed 24 of them before melting back into the forest. Among the dead was a senior party leader of the Indian National Congress, who also founded a now defunct right-wing militia to combat the Naxalites.